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Dura Ace 7700 the Best Looking DA Group?

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Dura Ace 7700 the Best Looking DA Group?

Old 06-08-22, 08:03 AM
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smd4
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Dura Ace 7700 the Best Looking DA Group?

I believe the Dura Ace 7700 series was the last-best looking Dura Ace group set ever made.

I loved the previous 7400 group. The metal was sensuously sculpted and the parts actually looked light. It was the group that enticed me to upgrade my lowly 600EX parts. The rear derailleur had beautiful dark and clear anodizing. The group got even better with the introduction of the gray aero brake levers and gray downtube shifters. But it never got beyond 8-speed.

The 7800 group crank is a blob of aluminum flowing into inelegant chainrings; the rear freehub features a bulbous protrusion on the drive-side, ostensibly to accommodate the freehub body; the brake calipers gained some unnecessary angularity, while the upper caliper arm seems modeled on the Statue of Liberty’s torch arm, holding the barrel adjuster up high, beseeching the poor, huddled masses to tighten the cable. The stubby and inelegant quick-release lever does not help.

The following Dura Ace component sets only go downhill from there in terms of aesthetics. Black parts have no place on bikes—even black plastic bikes. Sure—you can talk about increased numbers of gears or electronic shifting, but truly, the last-best looking Dura Ace group was the 7700.

The 7700 crankset is a tour-de-force of form following function, with elegant arms spreading out from a central self-extracting bolt, replacing the smooth dustcap of the previous iteration. The initial Hollowtech crank arm technology hides a weight-saving channel running down the crankarms’ center—and to my knowledge these cranks don’t fail, as later models have. The brakes are graceful and functional; the rear hub is bulb-free, sporting its nine cogs, some made out of titanium, on a titanium body. The rear derailleur is sublime in its lines and anodizing. While integrated shift/brake levers were available, Shimano also still offered downtube shifters—the last groupset for which they are available. Coupled with the gray 7402 brake levers with return spring and the rare but striking Dura Ace quill stem, the cockpit was the quintessence of elegance.

Sure, the bottom bracket and the pedals leave something to be desired (an Ultegra Octalink cartridge bottom bracket is certainly an acceptable and functional substitute, as are PD-7400 pedals; arguably the nicest platform pedals ever made), but beyond those quibbles, I believe the 7700 group represents the ultimate high water mark for Dura Ace components. If I could only afford the 25th Anniversary version, whose fit and finish is beyond luxurious.
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Old 06-08-22, 08:11 AM
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I pretty much agree - it's a toss up for me between the 7400 and 7700. Love the 7400 series; everything about it has a timeless classic design.

I find much of the 9000 series DA stuff to be hideously designed.
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Old 06-08-22, 08:19 AM
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DA9000 is the best looking ever made, followed by 7400 and 7700.
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Old 06-08-22, 08:20 AM
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I LOVE the 7400 stuff. Everything about it was beautifully designed. I remember when I got my first 7400 rear derailleur in 1987. Before I put it on the bike I spent hours studying it in my hands.. It was truly like a piece of jewelry.
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Old 06-08-22, 08:24 AM
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"X" shaped cranks lose all kinds of style points.
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Old 06-08-22, 08:39 AM
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I thought this was the C&V forum? 7700 is far too current. I'm going with first gen Dura Ace in black:


(photo from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/295759900499645374/)
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Old 06-08-22, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
I thought this was the C&V forum? 7700 is far too current. I'm going with first gen Dura Ace in black:


(photo from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/295759900499645374/)
I have the black hubs that go with your group. They are waiting time, and spokes, to be built up on some black Ukai rims.

Last edited by Mr. 66; 06-08-22 at 09:09 AM.
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Old 06-08-22, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr. 66 View Post
I have the black hubs that go with your group. They are waiting time, and spokes, to be built up on some black Ukai rims.
Oh, man. That will be very awesome!
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Old 06-08-22, 09:16 AM
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I too have to go with the DA 7400 for it's jewel like appearance. I studied the one I got for my Allez Pro for days before installing it.


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Old 06-08-22, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
I thought this was the C&V forum? 7700 is far too current. I'm going with first gen Dura Ace in black:


(photo from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/295759900499645374/)
7700 had downtube shifters. That's pretty C&V.
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Old 06-08-22, 09:31 AM
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I'm trying to decide if you are making love to your groupset or what is going on here.
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Old 06-08-22, 10:08 AM
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The 7700 maybe the best looking Dura Ace, but the 6500 is the best looking Shimano groupset.
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Old 06-08-22, 10:14 AM
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Im going against the grain here, but i really like 7800
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Old 06-08-22, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by icemilkcoffee View Post
The 7700 maybe the best looking Dura Ace, but the 6500 is the best looking Shimano groupset.
The 6500 crankset was a work of art.
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Old 06-08-22, 10:27 AM
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The 7410 crankset is the most beautiful crankset ever made. Period. The 7700 looks like it TRIED to be as pretty as the 7410 but failed.

The 7402 RD is the best looking derailleur Shimano ever made, but I think Campy made prettier ones.

The 7700 STIs are better looking than the 7401s, though. I'll give you that.

7400 hubs are way better looking than anything earlier, but the 7700s look the same.

I currently have a nearly complete 7410 groupset that I'm keeping, waiting for the right frame to come along. It could be a while....
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Old 06-08-22, 10:28 AM
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No love for Sante?
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Old 06-08-22, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
The 7410 crankset is the most beautiful crankset ever made. Period. The 7700 looks like it TRIED to be as pretty as the 7410 but failed.

The 7402 RD is the best looking derailleur Shimano ever made, but I think Campy made prettier ones.

The 7700 STIs are better looking than the 7401s, though. I'll give you that.

7400 hubs are way better looking than anything earlier, but the 7700s look the same.

I currently have a nearly complete 7410 groupset that I'm keeping, waiting for the right frame to come along. It could be a while....
Absolutely
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Old 06-08-22, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
The 7410 crankset is the most beautiful crankset ever made. Period.
The 7700 looks like it TRIED to be as pretty as the 7410 but failed.
I tend to agree. The "flattening" did the trick on the 7410. I think they should have just kept the 7410 and called it 7710.

Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
The 7402 RD is the best looking derailleur Shimano ever made, but I think Campy made prettier ones.
I like the 7700 GS, but I see your point. Elegant simplicity and it evokes rectangles.

Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
The 7700 STIs are better looking than the 7401s, though. I'll give you that.
I agree, and they shift as light as any STI ever made. Petite precision, unencumbered by cable routing.

Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
7400 hubs are way better looking than anything earlier, but the 7700s look the same.
The 7403 is the best all-around set I've ever used, but Those 8-speed Campy Records are so darn pretty.

Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
I currently have a nearly complete 7410 groupset that I'm keeping, waiting for the right frame to come along. It could be a while....
Narrow BB spindle? I've only ever seen the crankset, and I think it used something like a 103-104mm....

I'm still a huge 7700 fan, but boy, the DA 9000 with the combo of the polished chrome and glossy black....those are beautiful calipers, RD, FD.

Last edited by bamboobike4; 06-08-22 at 11:24 AM.
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Old 06-08-22, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by DMC707 View Post
Im going against the grain here, but i really like 7800
Seems like each group had a plus and a minus.
The 7800 crankset just reminds me of the 1982 Firebird bowling ball hubcaps. I'm not sure why.
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Old 06-08-22, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
I believe the Dura Ace 7700 series was the last-best looking Dura Ace group set ever made.
... beyond those quibbles, I believe the 7700 group represents the ultimate high water mark for Dura Ace components. If I could only afford the 25th Anniversary version, whose fit and finish is beyond luxurious.
Ellis Cycles showed a 16-lb lugged frame at NAHBS in 2010? with the 25th Anniversary group on it.
It almost hurt to see anyone touch it.
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Old 06-08-22, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
No love for Sante?
No love for 600 Arabesque when fitted to a bike with fancy lug work?
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Old 06-08-22, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by shoota View Post
DA9000 is the best looking ever made, followed by 7400 and 7700.



9000 replaced 7700 on this. I needed the compact. 7700 shifters definitely looked better.

Last edited by bamboobike4; 06-08-22 at 11:20 AM.
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Old 06-08-22, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
Before I put it on the bike I spent hours studying it in my hands...
Um....
OK. I get it.
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Old 06-08-22, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by bamboobike4 View Post
I tend to agree.

I like the 7700 GS, but I see your point.

I agree, and they shift as light and precise as any STI ever made.

The 7403 is the best all-around set I've ever used, but Those 8-speed Campy Records are so darn pretty.

Narrow BB spindle? I've only ever seen the crankset, and I think it used something like a 103-104mm....
Yeah, the 7410 takes the BB-7410, which I think is the first DA cartridge BB. 103mm. And I have one. Maybe not as glassy smooth as it was in the 1990s, but not bad. I had put the whole kit on a 1995 Litespeed Ultimate frame, making it the bike I LONGED FOR back in the 1990s, but in the end my legs are 25 years older and the local climbs didn't get any less steep, so I replaced the whole thing with R8000 Ultegra. I had thought about doing a mixed group, but in the end I decided against.
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Old 06-08-22, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by bamboobike4 View Post
I'm still a huge 7700 fan, but boy, the DA 9000 with the combo of the polished chrome and glossy black....those are beautiful calipers, RD, FD.
IMO, the most recent DA - and Ultegra and 105, for that matter, are purposeful in a way that makes them attractive, but the 7410 era is just better looking.
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